Tim Clark, the Fly Emirates president, announced that the Airline’s decision to cut off flights to the United States wasn’t permanent but rather a temporary reaction to declining demand.
Emirates had announced on Wednesday that it would slash 25 of its 126 weekly flights from Dubai to the US in May. The move had been blamed stringent rules as the Trump administration makes attempts to ban migrants from the Muslim-dominated countries from entering the US. The ban was among the top policies of President Donald Trump since he took over office in January.
The reductions imply that there will only be two Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle gets only one per week. Starting May, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will have only 5 direct flights per week.
While speaking to the Associated Press for the first time since announcing the flight ban, Tim Clark said that the airline has no plans of withdrawing its services to the 12 US flights that it currently serves.
He said that the cut flights was a temporary decision and was a response to declining demand, adding that it isn’t an indication that Emirates has no plans of expanding in the US.
“This is not a permanent arrangement … I do not see this as a paradigm shift…. Obviously our plans remain in place and we are as bullish and as confident about the US markets as we have been.”
Trump’s executive order banned a number of visa holders from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Majority of these use Emirates’ base in the Dubai International Airport as their main transit point.
Just as the first ban that had included Iraq, the new ban has also been blocked from implementation by the US courts.
Dubai is among the top Muslim-dominated cities that the ban had targeted. It had also put a halt on the transportation of personal electronics to the US.
Hurt US-Middle East travel
According to Robert Mann, an aviation consultant in Port Washington, New York, the ban on gadgets clearly hurts the travel from Middle East to the US. Similarly, the attempt to ban visas has negatively impacted leisure traveling from some countries.
“Neither factor is a good thing for the Middle Eastern carriers who are primarily affected.”
Emirates president opted not to give figures of how the decision to cancel some flights to the US will affect Dubai government. However, he said that the decline in number of passengers has had a “significant” impact.
For consumers it means higher prices, fewer choices, less connectivity,” Kevin Mitchell. He is the head of the Business Travel Coalition in the US.
Emirates Airline keeps the financial data of its US operations private. In the year ending March 2016, the Americas region (including Canada and Latin America) flights amounted to revenue of $3.3bn as stated in the company’s 2016 annual report.
US airlines and their unions have constantly revolted against Emirates and the Gulf flights, accusing them of being over subsidized by their governments. This has helped them expand operations in the US and eat much of the local market.